City lawyer welcomes Employment Tribunal changes

A City of London-based employment solicitor has welcomed reforms to Employment Tribunals, announced by the Government.

Kate Boguslawska, a Partner at Carter Lemon Camerons LLP, has reacted positively to the reforms, which include provisions for remote hearings and the possibility of non-employment judges hearing cases.

The reforms also include:

  • Passing administrative tasks currently performed by judges to legal officers;
  • Allowing for greater flexibility in handling minor errors through changes to the early conciliation and Employment Tribunal rules; and
  • Allowing for the same forms to be used by multiple claimants and respondents where reasonable to ensure the same certificates and time limits where disputes are essentially the same.

Kate Boguslawska said: “I welcome these changes. Employment Tribunals have been overloaded with cases for some time, with cases sometimes being listed as long as 18 months after being lodged – a situation which will become even worse with the expected wave of redundancies.”

She added that the transfer of certain tasks from employment judges to non-employment judges and legal officers could allow for more cases to be dealt with, while changes to the conciliation process could also enable cases to be processed quicker.

Kate said: “At the moment, a number of hearings take place remotely. I agree that certain case management hearing should be carried out remotely as it saves time and money for the parties and saves court resources.

“However, not all hearings are suitable to be held remotely. I hope that cases that are heard remotely will be chosen carefully, especially given that many claimants who choose to represent themselves may have a disability or may not speak English well enough to represent themselves in remote hearings.”

Kate added that she believes, however, that the system can contribute to the more efficient management of Employment Tribunal cases and quicker resolutions for employers and employees alike.